The Ridgeway – The Court Hill Centre, Wantage


The Court Hill Centre, The Ridgeway


At the end of day two of my walk of the Ridgeway National Trail I shuffled along, cold but sweaty, bruised, covered in chalk dust into the warmth of a tea room at the Court Hill Centre.

The lovely ladies behind the counter made no comment about my dishevelled appearance.  A slice of chocolate cake and a couple of cups of restorative tea restored my spirits somewhat whilst I waited to collect my key.  The tea room itself was fascinating.  Around the walls was displayed a mural of most of the Ridgeway Trail with art and photographs of various highlights along the way.  It was quite gratifying so see how far I had travelled already.  But I was so very tired.

So far as I understand it the Court Hill Centre is often used to host school groups and my room was small with a bunk bed and a sink – but that was all I needed.  There was a kitchen I could use to make myself a further cup of tea if I wanted and also a shower room.  Once I had cleaned myself up I went for a walk around the grounds.  It looked the most wonderful place for a school trip and rather reminded me of geography school trips I had gone on many years ago.  It was also the ideal accommodation for someone like me that wanted a clean room, a warm welcome and a bed for the night.   The grounds were super and included a large beech wood.   I wandered around this alone and felt a peace in the seclusion at having successfully completed what was for me a very difficult day.  I sometimes feel that it is not until we challenge ourselves and work through the fear that we find out just how much we can accomplish.


Overcoming fear during the Ridgeway Walk

Sometimes, kindly people have questioned the walking which I do alone and wonder whether I feel any fear.  There is a sculpture in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral which sums up the feeling I have exactly when I am walking………..  I am always held.



The wardens at the Court Hill Centre could not have been kinder or more helpful to me.  There was nowhere to eat dinner nearby (I did not fancy the traipse into Wantage!) and offered me a meal of my choice from what they had on site.  I remember fondly the delicious cheese omelette and my ice cream for dessert.  I had a choice of almost whatever I wanted for my packed lunch the next day…….. and they gave me SO MUCH! – that I had to start eating it straight after breakfast (which again was a substantial meal).  They had the most beautiful articulate daughter who I read to and played with for part of the evening and all in all I had a wonderful time.  They even managed to find me a mobile phone connector so that I could charge up my failing mobile.  All this cost me under £20 (at the time of booking) which I think is really amazing value.  If there were more places like this I think I’d be out doing long-distance walks all the time!


Alone again

I was the only person staying in the centre that night and it felt slightly disconcerting later on in the evening sitting in the huge lounge (meant for groups) alone.  But there was a wide range of nature-themed literature for me to try to learn from.  I retired along the passageways alone to my little bunk room and had the best night’s sleep I had had in years.

I left with many happy memories the next morning as I set off on Day 3 of the Ridgeway National Trail.


Further posts on Walking the Ridgeway

For an index of my posts on my walk of the Ridgeway see:

The Ridgeway National Trail – My Experience



Further Posts on my Walking Journey

For further posts on my walking journey please subscribe to my blog by clicking here and entering your e mail details in the box at the foot of the page or visit my Facebook page:  Jackie McAll “About the Journey”






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